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Introduction to the PowerPC Challenge

Heads up!

This post first appeared on my website on January 5th, 2022. As of right now, the PPC challenge has already begun. Click this link to go straight to my website's PPC Challenge section, where you can stay up-to-date on my challenge escapades! I'll post periodic updates here, though, from time to time.


The 2022 PowerPC Challenge

It's that time of year, everyone! Starting tomorrow, January 6, is the two-week-long MacYak PowerPC Challenge, which for the first time, I'll be participating in this year! I'm incredibly excited to be able to partake in this event for 2022, and I'll be documenting it frequently over the coming weeks!

Sorry if this post is a bit long, I'm super excited and have a lot to talk about.

What is the PowerPC Challenge?

As the name implies, the PPC Challenge is an event where the goal is to use an old Mac for your daily computing - specifically, Mac computers using the PowerPC architecture. The last Macs with a PowerPC processor were released in 2005, and Apple stopped supporting them with OS X after 2007's release of Mac OS X 10.5 Leopard.

The rules are fairly simple: use a real, physical PowerPC Mac for as much of your daily usage as possible, no emulation/virtualization. Any operating system or hardware upgrade is fair game, as long as it is running on a legitimate physical Mac.

Hardware loadout

I have already prepared my main machine for the challenge - my new-to-me iMac G5, Lillium. Sporting a 1.8GHz PowerPC G5 processor and 2GB of RAM, she should be up to the task of pretty much anything I can foresee myself doing. Whether it's light video editing for a YouTube upload, posting to Mastodon and SpaceHey and Twitter, or listening to music and writing new blog posts, Lillium should be an adequate performer.

At present, she's currently running a community-made version of OS X for PowerPC called "Sorbet Leopard", which adds some Snow Leopard features to Leopard and vastly improves the usability and performance of OS X 10.5. I've been testing it since I got my G5, and have had no major issues. The system is very responsive, but still has compatibility with the most "modern" apps.

Software solutions

Speaking of apps, there is a very healthy ecosystem of applications that are still actively maintained for these older machines and operating systems. The most important of these is a web browser, and luckily, though not nearly as responsive as my typical daily driver devices, InterWebPPC and Leopard-WebKit make surfing the modern internet a realistically-possible thing to do. I have successfully sent out tweets and watched YouTube from my G5, so it should meet most of my casual needs.

As for creative needs, I don't particularly need the newest of software to make things. While I will still likely need to use my main machine for graphic design work and commissions (the G5 can't handle the resolutions I work at!), Photoshop CS4 is still usable for quick edits and designs. iWork 2009 is perfectly fine for what I need it to do, and older versions of Final Cut Pro will make video editing possible - I'm very excited to try editing a YouTube video like this!

The Discord problem

As for communicating with people, however, the platform which I still engage most with is (sadly) Discord. In the past, Discord wasn't exactly a great experience on older Macs. For a while, the only option was to connect to your Discord account via an IRC bridge, and while this was admittedly a very period-accurate experience, it definitely felt like it was a limitation of my ability to communicate (sorry that my zoomer is showing).

However, there have been some developments in this space since last year's challenge, with two decent options (though neither support voice chat). The first is DiscordPPC, which is essentially the full fat web browser client. While this is quite impressive, and means that features like moderation, emotes, and whatnot are all intact, it is rather resource intensive, making it not particularly viable to just have running in the background as I usually do.

Luckily, there's a much lite-er solution! A new software release this year, the legendary dosdude1 has released an app by the name of Discord Lite that provides a lightweight Discord client for both legacy OS X and even modern macOS. While it's not perfect, it is very usable, and as such will be my client of choice for this challenge.

You ever hear about video games?

And, of course, I can't forget about the video games! I'll be trying to play some older classics on my Mac this time that I never got around to finishing, like Halo Combat Evolved. I'll also likely use Lillium as an emulation machine, to play some retro Nintendo stuff that I've never sat down to play.

I will also be trying to keep in the spirit of the challenge by playing consoles that run on PowerPC architecture as well, such as the Wii and Wii U - not that it would matter, because I've played my Wii more than my Switch lately, and even then I don't game off-stream very often.

I'll also be reliving some of my favorite younger gaming memories, thanks to a working PowerPC version of...Minecraft! For PowerPC G4 and G5 machines, there is a fully-functional version of Minecraft version 1.5.2 available (my favorite version!), which I am very excited to sit down with for the first time in a while.

On top of that, I'll also be converting my Minecraft server to version 1.5.2 for the duration of the challenge, and temporarily making it open to users on the KODA's Data Center Discord server, so drop in and say hi if you're interested in playing! I'll have a channel specifically for it shortly after this post is published.

Debut complications

Unfortunately, the PPC Challenge directly overlaps with January 13th, K.O.D.A.'s debut date. In the interest of keeping this date, and keeping schedules consistent, I will still be streaming and going live for my debut! I wouldn't want to cancel all that.

(If you weren't aware, I'll be making my first official vtuber debut stream on January 13, at twitch.tv/KODA_VT. You should drop in~!)

Conclusions

That's all I have to say on the PowerPC Challenge, until it begins tomorrow, January 6th. There will be a temporary section for me to post new challenge logs added here on the site so I can post frequent updates, and after the challenge I'll condense it all into one post.

I'm looking forward to sharing my experiences!

Until next time.

Amber out.


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